Our readers' views
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Purchase is not about savings
If you took a deep breath at the Vancouver City Council meeting, you couldn’t help but notice the smell of money in the air. Taxpayer money. It was a parade of “what-a-great-deal-this-is” proponents of going further in debt and the “city-would-be-doing-a-disservice-to-its-citizens” haranguers.
This purchase of the former Columbian building for a new City Hall is not about savings, consolidation, or a great deal. This is all about image. Vancouver doesn’t need this building. Vancouver wants to remove this obvious visual black-eye to the idea that the downtown core is being successfully revitalized. Since they can’t find a wealth-generating entity to fill the space, they will do it with taxpayer money.
Is there a single Esther Short project that has fulfilled its rosy initial projections?
Not using currently available funds to bring our fire stations up to seismic codes, but using funds to conceal a flawed dream, is shameful.
James D.W. Newton
Consolidation increases efficiency
It is with great pride that I receive the news about our city government purchasing the former Columbian building. Personally, I join former Mayor Royce Pollard in hurrah-ing the efforts of all those who are responsible for this happening, including him.
If The Columbian cannot be there, it is best that city government be there for untold generations to come.
Consolidation of city operations downtown in the area’s finest building is providence realized.
The adjoining land, as well, marks a wonderful gateway to the former Boise Cascade property riverside development. It is a new benchmark in the continuing reformation of my now long-time adopted hometown.
Where do I volunteer for whatever it takes to put a new sign on the building that says something to the effect: City Hall of Fort Vancouver, Washington, at The Columbian Building? Partially renaming the city (reclaiming our heritage, while severing our Canadian association) and giving credit to the Campbell family and the newspaper for its huge part in our history would be to further the dream.
Delicacy overlooked in Northwest
It breaks my heart to read the June 10 Columbian story “They’ll never rival salmon or steelhead, but shad are entertaining on light gear” that anglers here consider shad only as “crab bait or fertilizer.” Being born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., where we appreciate the finer things in life, I consider shad roe a prized delicacy.
I have lived here in the Portland-Vancouver area for more than 60 years and have yet to meet anyone who even knows you can eat shad roe. Please go online to get all the facts about shad roe. People here are missing out on a great treat.
Progress blazes its own trail
On June 10, I attended our neighborhood association meeting. I want to give kudos to the volunteer board members who did their best to rein in a few vociferous people and managed to keep their cool.
The basic complaint was that the quiet pseudo-cul-de-sac neighborhood will eventually have a road all the way through, and of course the response is, “not in our neighborhood.” The reality is, progress will have its way and more homes mean a bigger tax base, which is good for all of us.
As a 30-year resident living on Northeast 29th Avenue, I have watched all the 10- and 20-acre parcels be sold to developers and the traffic increase dramatically on this road as more and more homes have been built. Sometimes progress isn’t always convenient, but it is what it is.
Perhaps the next time we have a neighborhood meeting, the board should begin with music, like Mick Jagger’s, “You can’t always get what you want.”
Mary Ann Stephens
Wind power is taxpayer rip-off
I am that Ron Thomas to whom Tom Koenninger described in his June 9 column, “Wind is part of N.W. energy strategy,” as saying that wind power is a hoax. As Koenninger noted, by law we must buy wind power, but thank God that Clark Public Utilities sold it at a loss so we only have to pay $3.2 million for power we do not have to use.
The political nature of most economic conclusions is best stated in a piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Governmental power joined with wrongheadedness is something terrible, but all too common. Realizing that many of our leaders and their constituents are economically unenlightened sheds light on the troubles that surround us.”
Wind power is not cheap to build, and is not reliable — generating at 10 and 14 percent capacity in California and Texas — dependable or clean. Therefore, the hoax label.
If you rebut or attempt to refute these conclusions, be sure to note that you are putting your life savings in the next proposed wind farm to support your case.
Ron “Wick” Thomas
Romney rally a perfect reminder
Many thanks to Mitt Romney for speaking out against President Obama and assigning responsibility to the president for both the recession and the Gulf oil spill, and also for boldly and candidly remarking that Obama is “totally out of his depth” in these crises, (June 13 Columbian story “Romney rallies GOP for change”).
How very nice of him to so eloquently remind us why John McCain lost the election, and why Romney himself was not even selected as the Republican nominee. He could hardly have chosen a better way to demonstrate why his weakbutoffensive brand of partisan rhetoric is exactly what our nation does not need.
Stop addiction to corporate cash
Our nation’s laws and regulations shouldn’t be determined by the highest bidder.
The Fair Elections Now Act would create a campaign finance system of small donor contributions and matching grants — a system that would force our representatives to spend their time making policy — not fundraising calls.
Big Oil spent $169 million lobbying Congress in 2009, and BP alone spent $16 million lobbying and another half million in campaign contributions. Meanwhile, the entire environmental movement spent $22 million lobbying to protect our planet.
Now we’re seeing the consequences of a Congress addicted to corporate cash — billions in tax breaks for big oil, laughable oversight of off-shore drilling, and pathetic preparedness for the greatest environmental disaster in our history.